Tasmania makes a fantastic spot to vacation. Located across the Bass Strait from Australia’s mainland, there are many wonderful things to do on this island that has been occupied for over 30,000 years. Here are 10 things you will not want to miss.
Shop at the Salamanca Market
Shopping at the Salamanca Market that is held at the Salamanca Place in Hobart, Tasmania, every Saturday, is one of the best things to do on this island. Over 300 stalls filled with arts and crafts made by local vendors make this as one of the largest outdoor markets in Australia. You will also find gourmet products here to enjoy during your stay, and other options you will want to take home to give to your friends. Located right on the waterfront, you will also find many great places to take photos.
Visit the Junction Arts Festival
You will never be sure what the main attraction is at the Junction Arts Festival held in Launceston. In the past, this festival has included a sauna in the city park, a musical concert inside a carwash and other whacky ideas. Come to this festival hungry as you will find many outstanding places to dine during this September festival featuring live music. This festival also features wonderful art exhibits with many being located around St. Peter’s Square with its 19th-century architecture.
See the Aurora Australis
While it is unpredictable, Tasmania is a fantastic spot to try to catch a glimpse of the aurora australis. You can see these natural light shows any time of the year, but the cold winter months are often the best because nights are longer. You will need to get away from city lights to enjoy the show. Many think Cockle Creek on the southern end of the island is the best place to see these lights. This small community overlooking Recherche Bay is a Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Get cliff-top views by following the trail beyond the Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station Ruins.
Smell the Tulips
See the largest tulip fields in the Southern Hemisphere by visiting Table Cape, Tasmania. The tulip fields that spring to bloom each spring are planted on top of a 12-million-year-old volcano. If this is your reason for coming to Tasmania, then plan your trip for late September or early October. Many of the farms growing tulips allow you to stroll through them for only a few days when the tulips are in full bloom. Often these tours are held with art festivals and cuisine sampling making it a feast for all your senses. Consider starting your trip to see the tulips with a stop at the Launceston’ Visitor Information Centre where you can learn more about how tulips are grown by strolling through their museum.
Hike Up Cradle Mountain
While you will need to be in good condition to complete the 40-mile trek from Dove Lake up Cradle Mountain, you will be richly rewarded. There are also many shorter hikes available, so do not leave this stop off your Tasmania travel itinerary. You may also want to use this as the starting point for the fantastic six-day Overland Journey hike ending at Lake St. Clair. The old growth forest is beautiful to see even if you never leave the car. There is camping available and often this national park hosts special events.
Stroll Through the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart should not be left off anyone’s travel itinerary. This interactive art museum that is built on the Berriedale Peninsula is a unique place to visit because of its unique architecture. While the building appears to be one story when viewed from the street, it is actually three stories with the other two being built underground to help the building blend into its beautiful surroundings. Inside the museum is the largest modern artwork in Australia among other works. There are no museum placards. Instead, visitors are given an audio system that relies on GPS to tell them about the exhibit that they are viewing.
Play at the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo
The Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is four attractions in one. You can see Tasmanian devils here in exhibits that seem to have no fences. You can also stroll through a beautiful botanical garden filled with native plants. The garden’s design represents each of the different ecosystems found on this island. See paintings, sculptures and other artwork featuring the island’s beautiful natural environment. Each gallery is contained in a former animal cage or an aviary. Children adore playing on the playground where they can learn more about the mega marsupials that inhabited the island during the dinosaur-era.
Go on a Ghost Tour
Port Arthur, Tasmania, is the perfect place to go on a ghost tour. Once the home of a penal institution, over 1,000 people died in this community over the course of 47 years. On your lantern-lit tour, you will wander with a guide through this deserted site where some say those who died never left. Be sure to volunteer to be one of the lantern-bearers allowing you to be the first to enter the dilapidated buildings. After entering the pumpkin house, you may be greeted by a woman in a blue dress who appears to have no head. She is the reverend’s wife who was beheaded in this home while raising 10 children. You may also encounter a man in a trench coat who was the warden who did not care for the inmates who finally revolted and killed him.
Play in the Water at Freycinet National Park
While you will need to make a steep hike or take a kayak to arrive at the beach in Freycinet National Park, the journey will be part of the memorable fun. Secluded white-sand beaches await you. They are a terrific place to watch a sunrise as you are surrounded by an amazing variety of bird life. The azure-colored water is a great place to play. There are many great hikes to take across Wineglass Bay, and some will take you two days to complete as you stroll over the granite hills.
Go Fishing at the Bay of Fires
Another adventure you will not want to miss is going fishing at the Bay of Fires. There is no need to rent a boat as there are numerous places to go beach fishing. This is one of the few spots in the world where tuna get close enough to land that they can be caught from the beaches. Include this on your things to do in Tasmania.
There are many reasons to visit Tasmania. Make your plans to go there soon. Everyone will find something they adore doing on this island.